Event Date: August 15, 2004
Written by "Rockin" Robin Drodge on August 27, 2004
On Tuesday, June 1, 2004 the WWE™ was at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada for SmackDown™. The WWE™ announced a press conference was scheduled at noon that same day to make a very important announcement. Jim Ross was the MC for the press conference. A few Superstars attended also. Some of these were: Rey Mysterio, John Cena, Chris Benoit, Trish Stratus and Triple H, just to name a few.
Vince McMahon, Chairman of the Board for World Wrestling Entertainment, was on hand to announce that the "hottest event of the summer" would be coming to Toronto. This event was SummerSlam™ and to be held at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on August 15, 2004. The tickets would go on sale, Saturday, June 5, 2004.
On Thursday, June 3, 2004, SmackDown™ aired on TV; both on The Score and UPN networks. Highlights of the Press Conference were shown as it related to the announcement of SummerSlam™ coming to Toronto. It also featured comments by a few WWE™ Superstars and their reaction to this upcoming event.
Approximately 10 days later, it was announced that the SummerSlam™ Pay-Per-View event had been sold out in Canada. What a shocker! It is a well-known fact that the WWE™ is having a difficult time in selling out their pay-per-view events in the United States. Even a few days before or up until the Pay-Per-View event actually takes place, tickets are still available. In Canada, tickets sold rather quickly. The reason being is that Canadians are very interested in Wrestling, whether it is a Live Event or a Pay-Per-View. Canadians have a real passion for Wrestling. After the sell-out, it was announced on WWE™ television that additional tickets would be made available and would go on sale at the Air Canada Centre Box Office. These extra tickets were as a result of unused space required by the WWE™ Production Team. This was exciting for the many fans that couldn't purchase tickets earlier.
This Pay-Per-View event was indeed a bonus for the city of Toronto.
The Toronto Tourism Department offered a special package deal to people who were interested in coming to Toronto to attend this SummerSlam™ event. The package included Hotel accommodations, along with tickets to SummerSlam™.
The WWE™ had offered three different package deals to people interested in attending SummerSlam™ in Toronto. These included: Gold, Silver and Bronze. Included in some of these packages were hotel accommodations, a chair from SummerSlam™, tickets to Brunch the day of the event, and tickets to SummerSlam™, depending on which package you selected.
The WWE™ decided to do a special promotion for this pay-per-view event, which was "The Road to SummerSlam™" Retail Tour. This meant sending a few Superstars to various Retail Locations to sign autographs for the fans. Some of the Superstars that participated were: Trish Stratus, Stacy Keibler, Edge, Chris Jericho, Randy Orton, Ric Flair, Christian and Gail Kim. Some of the locations were: Wal-Mart and Toys 'R' Us. These appearances happened at the end of June, the entire month of July, and the beginning of August. The appearances took place in Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, Halifax, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Saskatchewan.
The WWE™ then scheduled a complete weekend of events for SummerSlam™. First, on August 12, 2004, Trish Stratus did a Comedy Show for The Second City in Toronto. The proceeds of this event went to Charity.
The next day on August 13, 2004, at the WWE™ Niagara Falls Retail Store, Randy Orton and John Cena were on hand to sign autographs for the fans.
The day following on August 14, 2004, the WWE™ held a very special day at Toronto's Ontario place. Hundreds of fans came out to see their favourite WWE™ Superstars for a special Question and Answer session, along with fun sessions at the Vista Courtyard main stage, and autograph sessions. The media was on hand for this event. Chris Benoit presented a copy of the World Heavyweight Championship belt to the Premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty; who was very supportive of the WWE™. The scheduled events followed. Two sessions of autograph signing took place. The first session began at 11:30 AM, which featured Randy Orton, John Cena, Matt Hardy, Lita and Gail Kim. The second session began at 1:30 PM and featured Chris Benoit, Victoria, The Hurricane and Edge. Fans were given a chance to ride an Ontario Place attraction with a WWE™ Superstar as they made their way through the park, and cheered them on as they competed in Cool Hoops and a Peddle Boat race. At the end of the day, fans were treated to a live concert on the Vista Courtyard main stage by Fozzy, led by WWE™ Superstar, Chris Jericho.
The next day, August 15, 2004, there were two settings for Brunch with the WWE™ Superstars, one in the morning and one at Noon. Proceeds from this Brunch would be donated to a charity called Variety Village.
That night SummerSlam™ took place. The number of fans in attendance was 17,640, which was a good turnout for the WWE™, The Air Canada Centre, and Toronto. I enjoyed watching this Pay-Per-View event from home. I thought the fan's reaction to some of the Superstars was rather strange, in that normally some of the Superstars who usually get cheered, got booed instead. Some examples are as follows:
ü The match with Edge wrestling Batista and Chris Jericho for the Intercontinental Championship in a triple threat match saw Edge - the Hometown Boy, who was a fan favourite going into this match ended up getting booed by the fans; while Chris Jericho, another Canadian and a fan favourite or "baby face" received mostly cheers from the fans. This was rather strange as everyone thought Edge would get the most fan support.
ü In the match between The Undertaker and John Bradshaw Layfield for the WWE™ Championship, The Undertaker did receive some cheers but the fans turned their attention to the Spanish announcer's table and wanted to see someone go through it.
ü The match between Eddie Guerrero and Kurt Angle, (who was the 'heel' in this match), got a lot of fan support. This was rather strange because normally Kurt Angle would get booed. On the other hand, Guerrero would usually receive a lot of fan reaction, but that didn't happen that night at SummerSlam™.
The main event saw Randy Orton defeat Chris Benoit to win the World Heavyweight Championship and become the youngest World Heavyweight Champion in WWE™ history. This was a very successful event and the fans seemed to have enjoyed it.
The very next morning, on the cover of the Toronto Sun and Toronto Star newspapers was a picture of Randy Orton, and on the inside of the newspapers was a lot of coverage about the SummerSlam™ event, as well as comments from the Superstars. It would be extremely rare to see this amount of media coverage in the newspapers in the United States.
On Monday, August 16, 2004, RAW was held at the John Lebatts Centre in London, Ontario. The main event being the same match from SummerSlam™ the previous night in that Randy Orton defended his newly won World Heavyweight Championship against Chris Benoit. This match was very good.
Benoit and Orton put on another good match on RAW. This match saw Benoit lock in the crippler crossface on Orton and it appeared that he was going to tap out, which would result in the shortest reign as champion in the WWE™.
However, this did not happen because Evolution, which was triple H, Batista and Ric Flair came down to ringside and distracted Benoit. This distraction led to Orton hitting the RKO on Benoit to win the match and retain the championship.
On Monday, August 16, 2004, The WWE™ held a live event called "Red, White and Bruised" at Owen Sound's Bayshore Community Centre in Owen Sound, Ontario. It was the first time the WWE™ had been to Owen Sound, Ontario, in ten years. From what I hear the attendance for this event was very poor.
Then the next night, Tuesday, August 17, 2004, the SmackDown™ Superstars went to the Copps Coliseum in Hamilton, Ontario, for the SmackDown™ taping. The Show is taped on Tuesday night and airs on Thursday night on The Score and UPN networks.
SmackDown™ is nothing spectacular to watch on TV or even at a live event compared to RAW. It requires a lot of improvement to compete with the quality of RAW. If this were done then maybe the fans would become more interested and probably would enjoy getting back in their seats to watch the SmackDown™ Superstars perform.
If we were to look at all the Success the WWE™ has had in Canada, given the fact that both SummerSlam™ and Wrestlemania Pay-Per-View events were a complete sell-out, I think that it is a good indication that maybe the WWE™ should consider returning to Canada more frequently.
The province of Ontario, especially the City of Toronto, was very supportive of the WWE™ and did a lot of promotion to attract people to their province for the WWE™ events. It was indeed a success for both the WWE™ and Ontario.
has been another article for The Canadian Connection by your author,
(This page was last updated on 2007-01-01 )
© 2004 Robin Drodge, All Rights Reserved
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